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Dressing Outside

August 30th, 2019
kids  [html]
This is not a good pattern:
Parent: before we go outside you need to put your coat on
Child: no
Parent: it's a cold day, and if you go out without your coat you'll be sad
Child: no
...
As a parent, there are a lot of cases where you have a better idea about what your child is going to want than they do, and these cases are hard. You know your kid isn't going to enjoy the cold weather, but they may have all sorts of reasons they don't want to put a coat on.

The traditional solution here is just to tell them they have to put their coat on before leaving, and over time they get in the habit and it feels normal to them. This is more or less fine, but it both requires forcing them to do something and doesn't really teach them the skill of predicting what clothing they're going to want.

What I like a lot better is just saying "ok", and sticking their coat in my backpack. Once we get outside they'll typically ask for their coat and put it on. If they don't, that's fine with me too: sounds like I was wrong about whether they would want it.

While we can't always put off decisions until they're ones the kids are going to be in a good position to make on their own, it's more common than you might think.

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